Teleportation
The paranormal transportation of human bodies through
closed doors and over a distance is a comparatively rare but still
a thoroughly documented occurrence. It is a composite phenomenon
fitting between levitation (frequently reported) and
apports (objects which were frequently reported in séances in
generations past but which were almost totally fraudulently
produced). According to the testimony of the Bible, teleportation
is by no means new in human experience. We find in Ezek.
111, ‘‘Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto
the East gate of the Lord’s house which looketh eastward.’’ Elijah,
walking with Elisha, was carried away by a whirlwind. Habakkuk
was carried from Judea to Babylon to bring food to
Daniel in the lion’s den, then carried back to Judea through the
air.
In the Acts of the Apostles 523, the warders of St. Peter’s
prison testify ‘‘The prison house we found shut in all safety,
and the keepers standing before the doors; but when we
opened we found no man within.’’ When St. Philip baptized the
Ethiopian, the author of the Acts of the Apostles notes
(839–40), ‘‘And when they were come up out of the water, the
spirit of the Lord caught away Philip that the eunuch saw him
no more. . . . But Philip was found at Azotus.’’ The distance between
Gaza, the scene of the baptism, and Azotus was 30 miles.
Reports of this phenomenon reappeared very early in modern
Spiritualism. J. B. Ferguson said from his observation of
the Davenport brothers
‘‘From as good testimony as I have of any fact that I can accept
without personal knowledge, I believe that these young
men have been raised into the air to the ceilings of rooms, and
have been transported a distance of miles by the same force and
intelligence, or intelligent force, that has for 11 years worked
in their presence so many marvels.’’
In England, accounts of transportation were published in
the Spiritualist press between 1871 and 1874 of Agnes GuppyVolckman,
Charles Williams, and Frank Herne (Spiritual
Magazine, July 1871); of Lottie Fowler (The Spiritualist, March
15, 1872); and of F. W. Monck (Spiritual Magazine, 1875), the
latter reportedly making an aerial journey from Bristol to Swindon.
Thomas Blyton writes in his reminiscences in Light (April 11,
1931)
‘‘I was present on one occasion at a private home séance at
Hackney in London, when without warning or preparation, in
total darkness, Mr. Frank Herne was suddenly placed in the
midst of the sitters; and after recovering from our surprise and
resuming the séance, Mr. Herne’s overcoat, hat and umbrella
were dropped on the table. John King, speaking in the direct
voice, explained that his band of spirit people had found an unexpected
opportunity to transport Mr. Herne from where he
had been with friends, witnessing a theatrical play that evening;
on his appearance at Hackney he was in a semi-conscious condition.’’
Grave suspicion surrounds the mediumship of Herne and
Williams, however, the latter being exposed in fraud on two occasions.
In 1876 Monck was imprisoned after his fake materializations
were discovered.
Very little evidential value can be attached to the episode in
Catherine Berry’s Experiences in Spiritualism (1876), according
to which, at the studio of Frederick A. Hudson, the spirit photographer,
between the hours of 2 and 5 P.M., in the presence
of Frank Herne and herself
‘‘Mr. Williams was seen to descend from the roof of the studio;
he fell on the ground very gently. I do not think he was
hurt, but sadly frightened. The spirit ‘John King’ was rather
vexed with him for not obeying a summons to come into the
studio, and told Mr. Williams that this putting him through the
roof bodily was done as a punishment, and he hoped it would
teach him not to disobey in the future. We all went immediately
to see if there was an opening in the roof, but there was none,
and the boards had all the appearance of not having been disturbed.’’
Guppy-Volckman’s transportation must also be called into
question. It occurred on June 3, 1871. There were ten witnesses,
including the two fraudulent mediums, Williams and
Herne, and eight sitters. It was a sequel to Herne’s previous
questionable transportation to Guppy-Volckman’s house. In
answer to a witty expressed wish of a sitter, in a moment of time
Guppy-Volckman was apparently carried bodily from her
home in Highbury (North London) to the house of Williams on
Lamb’s Conduit Street (West Central London), a distance of
over three miles.
The case was the occasion of much facetious comment in the
daily press. The Echo printed the only serious report. The story
was summed up on the basis of the sitters’ written testimony by
Abraham Wallace in Light (1918, p. 259) as follows
‘‘Neither door nor window could have been opened without
the admission of light. After various phenomena usual in dark
séances had taken place someone asked Katie King, one of the
controls, to bring something. Another member of the circle observed,
in a joking sort of way, ‘I wish you would bring Mrs.
Guppy.’ Upon which a third remarked ‘Good gracious, I hope
not, she is one of the biggest women in London.’ Katie’s voice
at once said ‘I will, I will, I will.’ Then John’s voice was heard
to exclaim, ‘Keep still, can’t you’ In an instant somebody
called out ‘Good God, there is something on my head’ simultaneously
with a heavy bump on the table and one or two
screams. A match was struck, and there was Mrs. Guppy on the
table with the whole of the sitters seated round it closely packed
together as they sat at the commencement. Mrs. Guppy appeared
to be in a trance, and was perfectly motionless. Great
fears were entertained that the shock would be injurious to her.
She had one arm over her eyes, and was arrayed in a loose
morning gown with a pair of bedroom slippers on, and in a
more or less décolleté condition. When telling me the story,
Mrs. Volckman very naturally said how much she disliked having
been brought in such a state into the presence of strangers.
There was a pen in one hand, which was down by her side.
From the first mention of bringing her to the time she was on
the table three minutes did not elapse. It seems that Mrs.
Guppy had a pen in one hand and an account book in the
other. She had been making up her weekly accounts and had
just written the word ‘onions,’ the ink still being wet on the
page.’’
After Guppy-Volckman had shaken off the effect of the
shock, the séance was continued with her presence. During this
part of the séance, her boots, hat, and clothes arrived from her
home, as well as lots of flowers. Both Herne and Williams were
levitated and disappeared in turns.
After the séance one Mr. Harrison, editor of The Spiritualist,
together with three of the sitters, offered to escort GuppyVolckman
to her home. Then their inquiries convinced them
that Guppy-Volckman was really sitting in the room with Miss
Neyland, writing her accounts at the time that one of the séance
sitters wished her to be brought. Her husband also bore testimony
to the fact that his wife, shortly before her disappearance,
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had been up to the billiard room where he was playing with a
friend. This visitor corroborated his statement.
Regarding this visit of inquiry, Frank Podmore states in his
book Modern Spiritualism (1902)
‘‘They there learnt from Miss Neyland, a friend of Mrs.
Guppy’s, who had come out as a medium under her auspices,
that an hour or two previously she had been sitting with Mrs.
Guppy near the fire making up accounts when suddenly looking
up she found that her companion had disappeared, leaving
a slight haze near the ceiling.’’
The report of this marvelous phenomenon gave rise to repetitions.
In another case, the authenticity of which is difficult to establish,
the subject of transportation was a sitter in GuppyVolckman’s
house. His name was Henderson. Ten sitters held
the séance on November 2, 1873. Suddenly it was discovered
that Henderson broke the séance chain and disappeared. The
doors and windows of the room were locked. About the same
moment of his disappearance, he was discovered at a distance
of a mile and a half in the backyard of the house of his friend,
Mr. Stoke. Nine people noticed his sudden arrival. The night
was wet. His boots and clothes were ‘‘almost’’ dry.
There is one transportation case associated with William
Eglinton (also cited as a fraudulent medium). It occurred on
March 16, 1878, at Mrs. Makdougall Gregory’s house. Two
other mediums, Arthur Colman and J. W. Fletcher, were present
with five sitters. One of the sitters suggested that Colman
should be taken through the ceiling. Almost immediately
Eglinton disappeared. The noise of a violent bump was heard
and Eglinton was found in the room above on the floor in a
trance.
Several cases were put on record in the first years of the
present century. The story of one is recounted in the Annals of
Psychic Science (vol. 9). The place was San Jose, Costa Rica, the
date between 1907 and 1909 and the persons concerned were
the children of Buenaventura Corralès. The oldest child,
Ophelia Corralès, was 18 years old. There were two younger
sisters and a brother. Separately and together the children frequently
vanished from the séance room, found themselves in
the garden and returned, to their great delight, in the same
mysterious manner. To quote from the account of Alberto
Brenes, a professor at the Law Academy
‘‘A few minutes passed in absolute silence. Suddenly we
heard knocks coming from the pavilion; we turned up the gas
and found the children were no longer there. The doors were
examined and found to be completely closed. Two persons
were deputed to look for the children. When the door of the
room was opened they were found standing in a row, talking
and laughing at what had taken place.
‘‘They said that they had been brought there, one by one;
first little Flora, then Berta, and finally Miguel—their respective
ages being seven, twelve and ten years.
‘‘We then asked them how they had been carried and they
replied that they had felt a pressure under the arms, then they
were lifted up in the air and placed where they were found, but
they could not tell us anything more.
‘‘The two investigators then asked the spirits to repeat the
translation in the reverse direction; they recommended the
children to remain silent where they were, and locking the
door, returned to the séance room to give an account of what
had happened.
‘‘We resumed the séance after taking the necessary precautions
of locking the doors. Then ‘Ruiz’ came and after recommending
all to keep up their spirits, said in a clear and energetic
voice ‘Let the children come.’ Immediately one of them
called out ‘We are here.’ The light was turned up and the three
children appeared in a line in the same order in which they had
been previously found. On this occasion all three had been
transported at the same time.’’
Again, we must add, considerable suspicion surrounds the
mediumship of Ophelia Corralès.
Joseph Lapponi, medical officer to Popes Leo XVII and Pius
X, recorded in his Hypnotism and Spiritism (1906) the case of the
Pansini brothers, Paul and Alfred, eight and ten years old respectively.
They experienced mysterious transportation in a
half hour from Ruvo to Molfetta. Another time, at 1230 P.M.,
they disappeared from Ruvo and at one o’clock found themselves
on a boat at sea near Barletta, making towards
Trinitapoli. Once they disappeared from the square of Ruvo
and found themselves, ten minutes later, before the house of
their uncle Jerome Maggiore in Trani. Several other mysterious
flights took place to Gios, Biseglie, Mariotta, and Terlizzi.
Once they disappeared in Bishop Berardi’s presence while he
was discussing these phenomena with their mother. The windows
and doors were closed. In another volume, Spedizione e
Spiriti, the same author told of the flying brothers of Bari who
could transfer themselves over a distance of 45 kilometers in 15
minutes.
Henry Llewellyn had a series of sittings with the medium F.
G. F. Craddock at Burslem, Staffs. The medium sat in a corner
of the room from which a door led into a cellar beneath. The
cellar door was completely covered with a curtain tacked
around the opening, so that any disturbance there would have
been at once detected. The curtains were drawn over the medium.
Some time later, the medium was discovered in a cataleptic
state suspended horizontally across the top of the curtained
corner of the room, with his feet and head lodged on each end
of about two inches of boarding. The curtain was opened so
that all present could see the sight for themselves, and then
closed in the hope that the medium would be put safely on the
floor again. Hearing no movement for some time the curtain
was opened again, when to the bewilderment of the experimenters
it was found that Craddock was gone. The cellar door
and its curtain were undisturbed. Shortly afterward they heard
someone moving about in the next room; when the door of that
room was unlocked, the medium walked out of it with his hands
still tied behind him. On another occasion Craddock was found
to be missing and was discovered in the bedroom directly over
the place in which they were sitting. This case must also be
treated with reserve, since Craddock was also exposed in fraud
on several occasions.
A report of Willi Reichel’s experiences with C. V. Miller, the
California materialization medium, as given in Psychische Studien
(January–February 1906) states
‘‘ ‘Betsy,’ the principal control of Mr. Miller, called Herr Reichel
first into the cabinet in order that he might assure himself
of the presence of the medium asleep. He examined all again
and considers it impossible that the medium could have quitted
the cabinet in a normal way; in front of the curtains were seated
the 27 persons who formed the circle on that evening, and the
windows looked out on a much frequented street. The weather,
moreover, was very windy and wet, and it would have been impossible,
he says, to open a window without causing a current
of air to be felt at once. After about four minutes ‘Betsy’ told
him to go with three other persons to the first floor and Mr.
Miller’s housekeeper gave them the keys. They found the medium
breathing heavily on a chair; they brought him back into
the séance room, where he awoke, remembering nothing.’’
Franz Hartmann, the well-known Theosophist and writer
on occultism, employed the term ‘‘magical metathesis.’’ In Occult
Review (July 1906), he quoted the case of a Dr. Z., of Florence,
a friend of his, who was reportedly transported from Livorns
to Florence (100 kilometers) in 15 minutes and deposited
in a closed room.
Stepping into the realm of occult magic, the book of Harry
de Windt, From Paris to New York by Land (1904), may be cited
for an ancient transportation case in which a medicine man,
while he was closely watched, disappeared from a tent and was
found in an unconscious condition in a tent half a mile away.
The medium Ada Besinnet was said to have been several
times the subject of transportation, but there is no evidential
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record of the feat. Reporting on the Polish medium Franek
Kluski in Psychic Science (October 1925, p. 214), one Professor
Pawlovski writes
‘‘The most extraordinary case related to me by the members
of the circle is that of Mr. Kluski having been fetched by the apparitions,
or disappearing from the sealed and locked séance
room. The astonished sitters found him in a rather distant
room of the apartment quietly sleeping on a couch. I report the
case upon the responsibility of my friends, whom I have no reason
to distrust.’’
Harald Nielsson states in Light (November 1, 1919), in an
account of his experiences with Indridi Indridason, the Icelandic
medium
‘‘We have had on several occasions the experience of matter
being brought through matter, and one evening the medium
herself was taken through the wall into a room which was
locked and in darkness. This sounds incredible, but many
things occur in the presence of physical mediums which must
seem absurd to men who have not themselves investigated
them. But they are nevertheless true.’’
In Psychic Research (March 1930), an account was published
by Harry Price and H. Kohn of the poltergeist persecution of
an Indian boy, Damodar Ketkar, of Poona, India. According to
Kohn, who was a lecturer in languages at the governmental
Deccan College (Bombay University), Poona, the following
transportation case occurred in April 1928 during the most violent
period of the manifestations
‘‘At 945 A.M. on April 23, my sister says in a letter, the elder
boy (his brother, Ramkrishna Bapat) suddenly materialised in
front of [her]. . . . He looked bright but amazed, and said ‘I
have just come from Karjat.’ He didn’t come through any door.
My sister describes the posture of the boy as having been most
remarkable. When she looked up from her letter-writing she
saw him bending forward; both his arms were hanging away
from his sides, and the hands hanging limp—his feet were not
touching the floor, as she saw a distinct space between his feet
and the threshold. It was precisely the posture of a person who
has been gripped round the waist and carried, and therefore
makes no effort but is gently dropped at his destination.’’
This account is unique, as in no other case was the actual arrival
of the transported individual seen.
Two accounts of transportation are to be found in the amazing
case of Carlos Mirabelli, the South American medium. On
the basis of the original Portuguese documents, psychical researcher
E. J. Dingwall, in Psychic Research (July 1930), recounts
‘‘. . . the transportation of the medium from the railway station
at Luz [S˜ao Paolo] to the town of S. Vincente, a distance
of some 90 kilometers. The report states that at the time the
medium was at the station at Luz in company with a number
of people and was intending to travel to Santos. Shortly before
the train started he suddenly disappeared to the astonishment
of everybody, his presence in S. Vincente being ascertained 15
minutes later by telephone, it being proved that he was met in
the town exactly two minutes after his disappearance. . . . On
one occasion when the medium had been secured in his armchair
by means of various ligatures he vanished utterly from his
position, the doors and windows remaining both locked and
firmly secured. Five sitters remained in the séance room whilst
the rest went in search of the missing man. He was soon discovered
in a side room lying in an easy chair and singing to himself.’’
A well-documented case was the transportation of Marquis
Carlo Centurione Scotto, at Millesimo Castle, on July 29, 1928.
Psychical researcher Ernesto Bozzano reported on his investigation
of the case in Luce e Ombra (September–October 1928).
It can be summarized as follows
During the course of the sitting, the medium Marquis Centurione
Scotto exclaimed in a frightened voice ‘‘I can no longer
feel my legs!’’ The gramophone was stopped. An interval
of death-like silence followed. The medium was addressed,
without answer, then felt for. His place was empty. The sitters
turned on the red light. The doors were still securely locked
with the key on the inside but the medium had disappeared.
All the rooms of the castle were searched without result. Two
and a half hours passed when it occurred to the sitters to ask
Gwendolyn Kelley Hack to try and get into communication,
through automatic writing, with her spirit guide ‘‘Imperator.’’
After several attempts in which the sitters were only told, ‘‘Do
not be anxious, we are watching and guarding’’ and that the
‘‘medium is asleep,’’ the correct information came through
‘‘Go to the right, then outside. Wall and Gate. He is lying—
hay—hay—on soft place.’’ The communication was signed by
the cross of ‘‘Imperator.’’
The place indicated a granary in the stable yard. The great
entrance door was locked, and the key was not in the lock. They
ran back to fetch it and, entering, found a small door that had
been previously overlooked. This door was also locked, but the
key was in the keyhole on the outside. They opened it with the
greatest caution. On a heap of hay and oats, the medium was
comfortably lying, immersed in profound sleep. When he first
regained consciousness and found himself lying in the stable he
feared that he had gone out of his mind and burst into tears.
The authenticity of the phenomenon was unexpectedly confirmed
by a message from New York from the spirit guide ‘‘Bert
Everitt,’’ who, manifesting in a sitting with the medium George
Valiantine, referred to the Millesimo experiments and stated
‘‘that he had helped Cristo d’Angelo [the spirit guide] to carry
out the phenomenon of the transport of the medium into the
granary.’’ This was received a whole month before a report of
the case had been published in Italy or elsewhere.
The marquis himself described his impressions as follows
‘‘At this instant I could not feel my legs any more, having the
impression of going into trance. I asked Fabienne for her hand,
which I took willingly to reassure myself. After having taken the
hand I felt something descending over my brain and my face—
and I felt myself light . . . light . . . light . . . but of such lightness
. . . I felt myself as if fainting and I . . . Then I recall nothing
more. Nothing, nothing.’’
Many cases have been reported in the hagiogaphic literature
of the transportation of saints, and sometimes their bilocation
(simultaneous appearance in different places over a great
distance) is noted. (See Gambier Bolton; Psychic Force)
Sources
Begg, Paul. Into Thin Air People Who Disappear. London
David & Charles, 1979.
Fodor, Nandor. Mind Over Space. New York Citadel Press,
1962.
Fort, Charles. The Books of Charles Fort. New York Henry
Holt, 1941.
Harrison, Michael. Vanishings. London New English Library,
1981.